Episode 2 – If You Wanna Be Awesome – Don’t Be Awful

In this episode, Erin & Carrie talk about ways you can be awesome during a crisis – and some tips for being “ready” to be awesome during a crisis.

And no “Karma Kudo” is complete without a “Karma Catastrophe”…. We’re talking about you Ernst & Young…

Tune in for episode 2 of The Community Karma Podcast!


Intro: 00:05 Welcome to the community karma podcast with Erin Jones and Carrie Hill join as they discuss building community, branding and how any business can benefit from a holistic approach to growth.

Carrie: 00:21 Hi everybody. Welcome to episode two of the community karma podcast. We are so excited to kind of delve into the meat and potatoes with you guys today and we’re super stoked over the title. We came up with today’s episode, which is if you want to be awesome, don’t be awful. And there’s a few things in the news right now that are kind of playing on both sides of that topic. And Erin and I kind of wanted to take advantage of what’s in the news to kind of talk about the lessons we can learn from bad examples and good examples. So you could almost say this is an episode full of kudos and catastrophes, right, Erin?

Carrie: 01:02 Absolutely.   karma, the whole reason we picked this title aside from,   borrowing from Mary’s coining of it is karma kind of embodies the result of all of your actions and what happens when you create those actions. And how it snowballs into becoming who you are. And I feel like today’s examples really are a good example of your actions becoming your brand.

Carrie: 01:30 Right. For sure.   back in the day the old ad men used to say, use that PT Barnum quote. No publicity is bad publicity, but I don’t think that’s the case anymore.   we were talking before we started recording about how,   it used to be one thing bad happened, it got published in the newspaper and then it went away. Right. So it didn’t have like this lasting impact on your brand. And especially because,   pre AP or even post AP things didn’t get report widely. So it may be bad in Chicago, but New York and San Francisco know nothing about it. Right,

Carrie: 02:10 Exactly. And then social media,   following the AP trend compounded that even more by not only giving the little guy up voice, but providing a platform for people to find information where before companies really got to cherry pick what their audience learned about them.

Carrie: 02:27 Absolutely. And so now if something bad comes out, it’s not just one person having one bad experience that gets reported on, then you have the social media effect where everybody piles on, where 50 or a hundred other people say, “Oh my God, the same thing happened to me”and here’s the details. And pretty soon that starts building this brand image of a company that does not care about its customers. So I think we, we need to throw away that no publicity is bad publicity. That kind of mantra that’s been in advertising for so many years and really think about how to be awesome and how to treat our customers like our friends and our partners, and to help them understand why we do things and why,   how we were awesome and how we take care of our community, whether it’s virtual or local. And a really great example. So last night in Dallas, I guess there were a lot of tornadoes, bad storm damage. And this morning the Alamo Drafthouse movie theaters, I guess they are. I haven’t been to one.

Erin: 03:33 They’re really cool. There are movie theaters that have tables and chairs so you can have a beer and get a meal. Kind of set up more like an entertainment club, like a comedy club or a venue.

Carrie: 03:45 But you see like new release movies there.

Erin: 03:47 Yep.

Carrie: 03:48 Gotcha. So they posted on Facebook this morning saying that a few locations in North Dallas, area Lake Highlands, Richardson. Were going to offer free movie tickets to Maleficent and the Adams family. So kid/mid kid movies, right. For anybody who wanted to come in and just kinda take some time out, maybe you don’t, you don’t have a ho a home or maybe you’ve got a bunch of damage and you’ve got insurance. People are,   people cleaning up the place and the kids are driving you crazy because all the schools are closed because they don’t have power right now. I think it’s a great way of kind of putting something out into the community and   getting something back that Goodwill, this, this is what community karma is all about, building that community karma. And what do you think, you know what do you think it would cost them to do something like this? Honestly, I, minimal in the big picture, right?

Erin: 04:51 Absolutely. And they’re going to earn, they’re building a community.   this was a big chain going into a local community and saying, Hey, we are here. We are you and we are here for you by,   providing, they’ve also put out an offer for people to bring in their phones or their laptops and charge them in the lobby. So again, minimal cost for them, but if someone has a work deadline or like you said, just once to escape for a little while, they can come in, recharge themselves, recharge their devices,   get a snack and just escape for a little while. And the longterm value of this I think is, is relatively invaluable. The community is going to remember this for a long time. When they’re picking the next place to go to a movie or   some of these theaters even offer   companies can rent out the theaters for days for company presentations and they’re going to stay top of mind with this community because they earned it. And I just,   where we’re from that I love that. I absolutely love that they’re doing this.

Carrie: 05:56 I think that the,  the benefit is yeah, maybe   a hundred people go in and take them up on those free movie tickets. But how many people saw this? How many,   I actually learned about it. My nephew lives in North Dallas and he retweeted it from the Alamo draft houses Facebook page. That’s how I found out about it. And so how many people, regardless of how many people take advantage of how many people are going to hear about it and just them hearing about it isn’t costing Alamo Drafthouse any money at all? 

Erin 05:60 Right. It’s not part of the “campaign” on quote cost, but the Goodwill you earn by even just making the offer is immense in my opinion. I think it’s a great, a great outreach, a great opportunity. They do post that,   there, they put out a call for the staff that are able to come in to come in please and work.

Carrie: 06:52 If they can, some of them might not be able to come in and work, but then they said to set the expectation, please be aware that the service might be a little bit slower than you’re accustomed to. So, they’re saying, Hey, come in for free stuff. We’re going to do our best to take care of you. It might be a little bit slower than you’re used to. So they’ve set an expectation they’d given something with that expectation and they’re going to reap the benefits for this down the road quite a bit. Just in that karma that’s gonna come back to them. Right. Without a doubt. And the other thing that they did is they implied that they’re taking really good care of their staff throughout this as well.   by saying we’ve put the call out to our staff that are willing and able to come in today for sure that that implies that they didn’t say get your butts into work right now we’ve got some community engagement to put on.

Erin: 07:43 They said, Hey, anybody, okay, we want to do this for the community. So they’ve kind of closed the loop there in showing that they’re a family internally, but then that they want to be perceived as a family to their local community. Now, I don’t live in Dallas, I’m not anywhere near Dallas, but we do have an Alamo Drafthouse in the Denver area and this has absolutely put them on my radar. So,   like you said, how many people across the country are going, Hey, loved how your Dallas location was taking care of their people. I would be happy to know that that might happen where I am at. And we don’t know if they’re franchised or corporate run or what. We just know that,   they have multiple locations, but this is not just creating Goodwill in Dallas. This is creating Goodwill.

Carrie: 08:28 It’s also raising awareness and locations outside of Dallas where if I’m following Alamo Drafthouse and I see this, I may go, Hey, maybe I can help out. What should I,   maybe I should look into this a little bit more. So there could be some really far reaching effects of this that they may not even intended. But again, it’s boosting that Goodwill and this was one of those things that’s kind of contagious. So now maybe the bagel shop down the street, we’ll go, Hey, pop in for a coffee after your movie. We’ll, we’ll care of you. And it’s just, it’s such a great way to make people not only feel connected and involved, but remembered,   they’re having probably a pretty crappy day. And even if their house wasn’t affected, they may just want to escape for a little while. And I think that this is a great way to do it without a lot of pressure.

Erin: 09:15 I agree 100% I think that there’s so much benefit to come this out of this and so little detriment and this kind of feeds into the whole having a plan, right? So I, it may have happened very organically, but I kind of think maybe Alamo Drafthouse had kind of a, Hey, if something bad happens, here are some things we can do, right? A plan of some sort. I hope so. Maybe, maybe not. But there is something to be said for you as a brand, having something prepared in case something happens. You know Tony Wright? Who, who, you know quite well.,Erin Tony, he was part of the PR department for American airlines, I believe at nine 11 and he said that that the best thing that they had in place was a plan. Right? So, I mean it was a terrible, awful, tragic tragedy, but they kind of had a plan as to what to do if something terrible happens.

Carrie: 10:14 And I think that,   that’s a huge scale, right? But I think on a small scale, if you have just a brainstorm list of, okay, if something bad happens in our communities, here are the various ways we can help. If we’re a restaurant, maybe we can give away some meals. If we’re a store, maybe we can donate some water bottles and some cleanup supplies or   there’s a lot of different ways that you can capitalize to help your community. Put that karma out there to get that good stuff back back at you. So   that’s, that’s our tip. Have a plan, right?

Erin: 10:46 For sure. And, and not only have a plan, but have it designed in a way that you can take action quickly, even if it’s not massive action. Be ready to jump and say, Hey, we are here. We’re ready to help out.   any brand can do this. You don’t have to be in the service industry. There are millions of ways,   this might be a great thing that we can discuss on our, in our Facebook group of, Hey, here’s what I do. This is what my brand does. What are some, some things that I could plan out that aren’t gonna break the bank? Because oftentimes,   Carrie, we both work with everything from small business to corporations and a lot of small businesses get hung up on the budgeting. But the problem they don’t have that large businesses have is they don’t have that red tape so they can make a decision and execute on it very quickly. So if they have a plan and are able to be that nimble there, there are many opportunities here to not only instill Goodwill in your community, but also to help out in times of crisis.

Carrie: 11:47 Right? And so,   then there’s the checklist of what do you do? So you have a plan, you think of a few things you do, even if it’s donating a couple cases of water, let’s be honest, every little tiny bit can help and and and disaster or a crisis or whatever, right? So you’re a small mom and pop store. There’s a house fire, let’s say right up the street from you and you grab a couple of cases of water, throw them in your car, run up there and start handing them out to people who are on the scene. Snap a couple pictures with your iPhone. Nothing distasteful. Don’t put people’s faces in it, but just say   brought some water up to the crew that’s trying to save this house up the street. Hope everybody is okay. Post it.   there’s very small things you can do that, that,   show that you’re helping but are blatantly, I only did this so I could take a picture. I know

Erin: 12:47 I’m going to build on that a little, but, and then when the family is rebuilding, offer to be a drop off location for people to drop donations so that this family isn’t feeling like a public spectacle or being put at risk or is that so that people that are donating aren’t driving to a strange location? Say, Hey,   we’ve got room in our store room, we’re collecting donations. We’ll take them all to the family so that they’re not overwhelmed in an already overwhelming situation.   sometimes just being there and having four square feet on your floor is, is a great way to help out.

Carrie: 13:21 Yeah, for sure. That’s a great tip, Erin. Definitely. and so let’s talk about the “what not to do side. Right. So Erin and I,

Erin: 13:36 Nobody is ever awful that we work with fortunately awful happens,

Carrie: 13:41 Right. So Erin and I were on Twitter this morning and we sort of saw the same thing at the same time I think because our, our response tweets were barely close together. There’s an article on Huff post today about this training that Ernst and young, which is like, I guess a big investment firm,   international this training that they had their female employees go through about how to succeed or something like that. I, I couldn’t even read the whole article. Yeah. How to “succeed” and it was so much garbage. I can’t even imagine having to sit through this thing because it was things like don’t ever sit and face a man straight on because he’ll feel threatened by you, sit at an angle and cross your legs. 

Erin: 14:40 So he feels less threatened by you, like what scrambles The mind, but you are healthy and fit with a good haircut and manicured nails while not being shrill. I want to look healthy and can have a good and manicured nails at all times. But let’s be honest, life happens.

Carrie: 14:56 Well, and not only that,

Erin: 14:58 The offensive points from this article,

Carrie: 15:00 Yeah, you should do that for yourself. Not for some man that you work with. Like, dude, got me a little riled up today. Oh, I was so mad earlier and when we were talking about recording, I’m like, we gotta talk about this Erin because this is, this is the epitome of how to be awful. Like,

Erin: 15:26 I thought this was a republished from the 1950s. I mean, it, it was that, it really, honestly, Carrie and I both have daughters.   I feel like we’ve come up in a time where we, we usually get our voices heard when they need to be heard, but we have battled some of this. But I really, really thought it was going to be better for our girls and this really, really makes me wonder,   if I’ve just been really fortunate for the most part to work with great men who understand that I am not a prop in a meeting that I’m actually there for.   my mind in my opinion and the value I bring that has nothing to do with how much of my leg or cleavage is showing at the table. This just really ticked me off, Carrie.

Carrie: 16:10 Yeah, let’s say that already. This quote from the article, and it’s bolded because it should be, this is a quote from the training manual. This was printed. This is the manual. “Women’s brains absorb information like pancakes, soak up syrup. So it’s hard for them to focus. The attendees were told men’s brains are more like waffles. They’re better able to focus because the information collects in each little waffle square.” What the hell? Who saw that? This was a good thing to say to people, I can’t imagine.

Erin: 16:48 It made it through conception. It made it through editing, it made it through publishing and then it was sold to Ernst and young as a viable training. So this bypassed at least seven checkpoints. And this was not a tiny little business.   this isn’t some local business in a town of 300 people. This is Ernst and young. I mean if this is squeaking through there, what, what else is happening in the world? I, this just really, really threw me off today.

Carrie: 17:20 I mean this is a $36.4 billion global accounting firm with almost 300,000 employees. It had to have gone through legal, it had to have gone through legal and to get past your legal….. like was it just a like a rubber stamp? This training was done in June, 2018 I actually, I believe it been, done multiple times before that, but this particular one that’s reported on was June, 2018 and I just can’t imagine that anybody, especially the woman who did the training. Yeah. I said woman, woman who did the training did it and thought that anybody would come out of it and say, Oh, that was so wonderful.

Erin: 18:12 This is the problem. One person reported this and sent this to the media. How many people went through this training and felt like they had to sit down and shut up to keep their job.

Carrie: 18:22 Yep, absolutely. And classic, classic example of don’t be awful. This is awful. I’m not sure there’s anything that could redeem this.   Even the other side of the story I saw there was some quote here from a woman who had done the training before and said she really appreciated it. It was the most impactful leadership program that she’d had the opportunity to, to participate in. But she’s an Ernst and young senior executive. So it’s in her best interest to kiss the company’s ass and this case, right? So shareholder probably very probably, and so, if Ernst and young trashes she trashes or crashes, I guess is the right word. So I, I just feel like there’s no redeemable way you could spin this to be okay.

Erin: 19:18 I completely agree. And even, okay. Not that any of this is okay, but the contradictory information that was published here also throws me, it says, don’t talk to a man face to face because men see that as threatening. But then in a communication blunder section, it says failure to establish eye contact will lead you to failure. So what, where, where am I looking if I can’t make eye contact? But I have,   there’s just so much here that   this is like Uber level mistake and I, I don’t know, I’m sure they’ll come back from it because they’ve got a lot of money behind them and a lot of people have a stake in this company being successful. But I think this is gonna damage them for a long time.

Carrie: 20:02 Yeah. And I think that, what’s going to happen is a bunch of people now are going to come forward and say, “yeah, I had to do this. Yeah. It was BS.” They’ll probably be some kind of a suit. They’ll settle it. It’ll all quietly go away because $36 billion can sweep a lot under the rug. Right. 

Erin: 20:20 Oh, don’t forget about that public apology and the donation tool. Women’s foundation.

Carrie: 20:23 Yeah. That could, because those are all the things that are expected of them. And that is the opposite of doing things for your community because you want to grow your community and all about protecting your own ass. Right. like I said, there’s not much redeemable in this, so they are definitely our karma catastrophe for the week because, Ugh, that is the best response I can give to this

Erin: 20:44 Oh, I think it’s disgusting. And I, we both actually have a daughter and a son and this makes me sad for both of them.

Erin: 20:59 Hard for both of them to, to grow on their own merits, educationally, use their voices when needed, also know when to sit down. But, but the fact that this is being encouraged on both sides of the table, just, I hate to say hurts my feelings because that’s kinda perpetuating that feminine emotional quality that we’re supposed to follow down. But I just find it repulsive. I, it’s awful.

Carrie: 21:26 Yeah. I, I can’t imagine. And you’re right. We do work with some great guys. There are guys in this industry that would, that have looked at this and gone, this is disgusting. And for sure there are great guys out there that do great things and, and support women in any role. And,   we are all treated as equals because we are equal and, and I do appreciate that for sure. But I think that there’s so much, especially in big corporate America that is swept under the rug. I actually, I’m very excited to read it. I just ordered Ronan Farrow’s new book catch and kill. I can’t wait to read it because the reviews are insane. And it’s about a lot of corporate.  Rug sweeping and, and I’m very interested to kind of see, see if what in there looks like this. I have a feeling a lot of it’s gonna look like this. 

Erin: 22:23 It’ll be interesting to hear, you know what you get from that because I, one of the reasons that I’m so grateful to have joined this industry when I did and get the opportunities that I’ve gotten is because I really feel like what I’ve earned has been on my merit. And I say that, that not everyone gets that opportunity. So hopefully we can help perpetuate that a little bit and encourage locally-owned brands and our, our tribe here to see people as people and not as, someone in a skirt versus someone in a tie or a waffle versus a pancake. Right?

Carrie: 23:02 Yeah. That’s the worst.

Erin: 23:06 Really. Let’s, let’s work on changing this. This is the kind of stuff that starts within a local community and then grows as people branch out and join other communities. So I, I think that this is something that we are further behind than I really thought we were and I knew we were behind, but I’m, I’m looking forward to seeing a change in this trend.

Carrie: 23:27 Yeah, for sure. So let’s be more Alamo Drafthouse and less Ernst and young, all of us, everyone in your world, right? Kudos to you. So I think we’ll wrap this up. I hope you guys enjoyed the topic. We’d love to hear your viewpoints and feedback. Please, please, please share with us Twitter, Facebook and stuff. I believe we’ll have, we have a YouTube channel as well where this’ll be uploaded.   we’d love to hear your thoughts on it. If we,   miss the Mark, we’re not afraid to, to hear your, your point of view and own it. If we did, we’d love to hear   why you think that. So again, thanks for joining us Aaron. Thanks for the great conversation. Happy Friday. It’ll be Friday. When I post this,

Erin: 24:16 Carrie, I know we mentioned the Alamo Drafthouse stuff as being yesterday and I just flagged on the fact that by the time this publishes, it will have been last weekend, right? Again, this is podcast number two. We’re learning together. So any feedback anybody has for us is absolutely welcomed and appreciated. However constructive that criticism.

Carrie: 24:36 Yeah, please, please, if you, if you’re not interested, just don’t listen that scroll on by. That’s what I tell people on Facebook who have snarky things to say, the keyboard warriors. I’m like, you didn’t have to stop and be a jerk. You could’ve just scrolled on by.

Erin: 24:53 We love nice people here first. Remember that, that definition of karma folks, what goes around comes around,

Carrie: 25:01 That’s for sure. So create your own karma by being a nice person. All right. Thanks everybody for tuning in. We will be back next week with another episode of community karma podcast. Have a great one.

Outro: 25:21 Thanks for listening. Be sure to subscribe via iTunes, Google podcasts or your favorite podcast app. And don’t forget to sign up for reminders via the website, community karma, podcast.com. See you next time.